Finding the best deal

The recent low gas prices have made a lot of consumers happy. According to a NACS article published this week, 91% of consumers say that the lower refuelinggas prices are good for the economy, and 95% said that the lower gas prices make it easier for them to go on vacation. This is good news for petroleum marketers, who prosper when fuel consumption increases.

Even with lower gas prices, though, consumers still want to find the best deal on fuel. A survey conducted by NACS and reported by CSP indicates that 71% of consumers said that price was the most important factor in deciding where to buy gasoline. What’s more, NACS reports that 63% of consumers were willing to drive 5 minutes out of the way to save 5 CPG, 72% were willing to pay cash, and 65% pay with cash or use a loyalty card to save money.

What are consumers doing with the money that they are saving at the pump? According to the Wall Street Journal, consumers are saving about $60 per month from lower gas prices, but these dollars are not all translated into increased discretionary spending. As stated in the PYMNTS.com article titled “Americans Pocketing Gas-Price Savings,” about 25% of the monthly savings are being spent on groceries, clothing, and fast food. Given that about 35% of gas customers claim to also go into the store to make purchases after fueling, these fuel savings may bring more consumers into the retail stores.

Intevacon offers two products that can help attract customers looking for the best deal, but even better, our solution provides a level of loyalty that keeps consumers returning to your sites. With the Intevacon fleet card, petroleum marketers can sign up businesses to fuel exclusively at their sites. To attract these customers, the petroleum marketer may choose to offer CPG discounts, cost plus pricing, or any other discount arrangement to achieve the business. With online access, all fleet users can manage their accounts and view transactions in real time.

For consumers, petroleum marketers can offer the Intevacon Prepaid Card that can be loaded and reloaded with cash (or any other method of payment). POP discounts at the pump provide the CPG discount at the time of the transaction. Given that about three quarters of the consumer population bases their selection on discount potential, this card will attract loyal customers while also increasing cash flow.

Intevacon is in business to see the petroleum marketer succeed, and we design our products to achieve this result.  Our fleet cards and prepaid cards can help increase volume and keep margins high.  If you want to find out more about Intevacon or talk to someone on our team, please call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Trade Show Season 2015

locIt’s that time of year again—the approach of spring and a chance to meet with our customers at Trade Shows! 

Check out our Trade Show schedule below, and come visit us at the shows!  We’ll keep the list updated if we add any shows or find out more details.

•  Western Petroleum Marketers Association (WPMA) National Convention and Convenience Store Expo: February 17-19, Las Vegas, NV. Booth 203

•  Southeast Petro-Food Marketing Exposition: March 4-5, Myrtle Beach, SC. Booth1508

•  Gulf Coast Food and Fuel: March 11-12, Biloxi, MS. Booth 107

•  MPact: March 24-26, Indianapolis, IN. Booth 538

•  VeriFone Customer Forum: April 19-22, St. Pete Beach, FL.

 Southwest Fuel and Convenience Expo: May 6-8, Ft. Worth, TX. Booth 325

• Gilbarco 2015 Retail Technology Conference: May 18-21, Myrtle Beach, SC.

• NCR Synergy 2015: June 22-25, Orlando, FL

• NACS: October 11-14, Las Vegas, NV

We can be contacted at 678-739-4450 or reached by email at moreinfo@intevacon.com.plane

Branding

Branding carries a whole new level of significance to the petroleum marketer. We are all familiar with the implications of oil brand selection—Marathon, BP, Shell, Chevron, etc.—and petroleum marketers are very intentional with this decision. But what about your brand?i---fb

Customers chasing an oil brand are just as likely to visit a competitor where their fuel rewards card is also accepted. Your most loyal customers are the ones who identify with the brand that you have established over time. This brand, your brand, is more valuable than any promotion or canopy endorsement.

The greatest brand loyalty is achieved when value is added and a relationship is formed. In a retail environment, there are less distinguishing opportunities to develop a relationship and truly add value to the customer experience. Clean bathrooms and low prices are nice, but they are not uncommon enticements.

Intevacon cares about branding too, and that is why we work so hard to provide the best fleet card solution in the industry. We stand behind our product, and we walk beside our marketers to offer a solution that will help them grow their businesses. Offer a fleet card with your brand and help your customers start to identify your stores as their stores.

By offering your fleet customers a card that represents your brand, you are creating a business relationship and giving your customers the tools to better manage their fleet business. Intevacon makes automating house charges easy, and we have seen our petroleum marketers grow their fleet business by leveraging the brand that they have spent years cultivating in the community.

Want to find out more about Intevacon? Give us a call at 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Hyper-Localization: Serving Community Businesses

saleWith the Christmas season upon us, consumers are more and more cognizant of the retail experience, and their expectations continue to change with trends and technology. Of late, big box stores have skinnied down to convenience store sizes, online shopping takes on new meaning as grocery stores give delivery their best shot, and a barrage of payment options seems to overwhelm headlines.

Convenience Store News calls 2014 the Year of Retail Fragmentation to describe the multiple shopping formats that face consumers. One way that Convenience Store News suggests that convenience stores stay competitive is through a hyper-localized approach. This means that the convenience stores will focus on the local community and its local products. Intevacon has long seen the benefit of focusing on the community and serving its fleet users.

A surprising number of petroleum marketers offer credit to fleet customers for the purchase of fuel at their stores. Customer loyalty is the reason that most petroleum marketers choose to host these “house accounts.” The Intevacon system makes hosting house accounts easier by automating the process and offering a more streamlined experience for both the petroleum marketer and the fleet business owner.

Hosting house accounts can be a successful gesture to attract local business, but the benefits of automating this process are huge. Fleet card customers on the Intevacon system are able to use their fleet card at the pump or in the store. Additionally, product restrictions, credit limits, and driver assignments are easily set up through our system. User access allows the business owners to log into their own accounts to view card details, transactions, invoices, and reports.

Intevacon values relationships, and we truly believe that this model is successful because the petroleum marketer maintains a direct relationship with his/her customers. With the Intevacon fleet card, local businesses become loyal businesses.

Want to find out more about Intevacon? Give us a call at 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Going Natural with Intevacon

truckIntevacon is in the fleet card business, so we have the opportunity to see our customers meet fleet needs first-hand as industry demands change. Over the last few months, our retinue of customers providing Natural Gas has increased as more fleet vehicles are transitioned to the cost-saving fuel alternative of compressed natural gas—CNG. This is a perfect fit for our business, as we specialize in providing a fleet card system that offers flexibility and transparency in assigning drivers, vehicles, special pricing, and product restrictions.

CNG stations have been popping up all over the nation—according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America, there are now 1,436 CNG and 101 LNG natural gas stations operating in the U.S.  NGV for America projects that an additional 250 to 300 new stations will be built in 2014. The increase in natural gas stations is motivated by several factors, but cost savings seem to be the largest impetus for conversion. Vehicles equipped to use natural gas are shown to derive great savings on fuel over time, and government incentives make this conversion even more palatable to fleet managers looking to save on costs. A 2014 Department of Energy study on heavy-duty refuse trucks fueled by CNG showed that fleets can save as much as $0.90 per mile by using this alternative fuel. This equates to about a 50% savings on fuel. Other benefits included low criteria pollutant emissions, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and quieter operation.

According to the Department of Energy, natural gas fuels about 112,000 vehicles in the United States. Several notable companies have converted or are in the process of converting their fleet vehicles to natural gas, a few of which include Waste Management, CAT, UPS, and AT&T. Many municipal entities have also discovered the benefits of converting to CNG vehicles, as documented in a Department of Energy business case targeting municipal governments with fleets such as buses and refuse trucks traveling in routes conducive to refueling at the same station. The advantages touted by the study are many: long-term cost-effectiveness, more-consistent operational costs, increased energy security, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced local air pollution, and reduced noise pollution.

The Intevacon system can help you grow your natural gas fleet business by offering an all-inclusive system for fleet cards. By working within the Proprietary Network, you will have the controls to manage your customer relationships and foster loyalty at your sites across all POS and cardlock platforms. Intevacon system features include:

  • Contract pricing
  • Cost plus pricing
  • Cents per gallon discounts
  • Finance charges
  • Tax tracking and exemptions
  • Real time credit limits
  • Product restrictions, site restrictions, usage restrictions
  • Specific prompting to capture driver, vehicle, and odometer information
  • Invoicing and statement generation
  • Payment posting
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Online user access for fleet card customers

We love what we do, and our mission is to help you succeed.  For more information on how Intevacon can help you grow your business, call 678-739-4450 or email moreinfo@intevacon.com.

The Loyalty of Fleet

carrotThere is no doubt that customer loyalty is at a premium right now. Everywhere you look, there are schemes created to engage with consumers and lock in their loyalty. The petroleum industry is no different—football promos, sweepstakes, gas giveaways, reward cards, special discounts, free showers at truck stops—the list goes on.

According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, the average U.S. household has 22 loyalty-program memberships and actively uses 10. As more and more companies establish and/or refine their loyalty programs, it will only become more challenging to capture the attention and loyalty of consumers.

One of the most valuable attributes derived from loyalty programs is the opportunity to form a relationship with the customer. As discussed in a former blog post, Building Relationships and Profiting from Repeat Business, a joint study by Manta and BIA/Kelsey found that 61% of small business owners report that half of their annual revenue comes from repeat customers. The study also notes that repeat customers spend 67% more than a new customer.

The Intevacon fleet card system is designed so that the petroleum marketer maintains a direct relationship with the cardholder. This is contrary to most card programs. In the case of Visa or Mastercard, the issuer is often a bank and there is little incentive for the cardholder to feel any vested interest in the merchant. In most traditional card transactions, the merchant has no connection to the cardholder other than dispensing fuel and providing a clean restroom.

Intevacon offers the opportunity for the petroleum marketer to own the relationship with his/her cardholders, and our hope is that this helps grow business and increase revenue. Fleet business affords a more consistent and higher volume transaction than most transient consumers. The average fleet card transaction processed through our system is about $104. This is about three times higher than the average consumer spends in fuel per week. Capturing the fleet business and fostering relationships with cardholders is a coveted position for petroleum marketers, and Intevacon was created to help facilitate this relationship.

Find out more about the Intevacon Fleet Card System by reaching out at 678-739-4450 or emailing moreinfo@intevacon.com.

Organizational Growth–delight, connect, and exceed expectations

The Intevacon team just returned from iStock_000024846557Largea great week in Las Vegas at the NACS show. It is always rewarding to chat with our customers and hear how they love using our system. There is nothing like hearing compliments and referrals from our customers to keep us motivated and excited to continue growing and serving our customers and prospects. We have a very talented development team who works very hard to make the Intevacon system run smoothly and meet all of our customers’ needs. 

Intevacon was founded in 2010, and in the last 4+ years, we have partnered with petroleum marketers across the country who have grown their fleet business with us and helped make us the best fleet card processor in the industry. A blog came out last week by Seth Godin describing the four stages of organizational growth: struggle, Servant, bully, and utility. Seth says that a business “can move to servant mode, delighting and connecting customers, exceeding expectations and performing what seems like miracles. Or it can take profits as soon as it can. The former leads to scale, the short-term approach usually results in more struggle.”

The Servant stage of business is exactly where Intevacon intends to stay as we grow with our marketers. We have big plans for 2015—plans to network our marketers across the nation, plans to help bring more volume to their sites, and plans to maintain strong relationships between the petroleum marketer and his cardholders.

Our business modIMG_2397el is not necessarily the most conventional to turn a big profit, but we are satisfied with investing in the long-term growth of our business relationships. An article posted by PYMTS.com recently highlighted the fleet card industry stating that players in this field “charge vehicle fleet operators a subscription as well as transaction fees and they also get a piece of the transaction revenue from the gas station partners whenever anyone uses one of their cards to pay for fuel.” Intevacon just doesn’t operate that way, and we never will. We want to achieve our success by ensuring the success of our customers first.

To wrap up this blog post, here is a final quote by Seth Godin on organizational growth, “I’d like to believe that the goal is to figure out how to live a life in the servant stage, to create an organization that doesn’t become a bureaucratic haven or an avarice-focused engine of profit.” Amen.